p-medicine – An ICT-infrastructure for personalized medicine

“p-medicine - From data sharing and integration via VPH models to personalized medicine” is a 4 year integrated EU-project of the 7th Research Framework Program which develops new tools, IT-infrastructure, and simulation models for disease processes.

The purpose is to promote personalized medicine for the benefit of the patient. Nineteen partners from 9 European countries and Japan have joined forces in p-medicine to solve current problems of clinical research with new information and innovative technologies and to pave the way for stronger individualized therapies.

Information and knowledge from postgenetic research and from combined genetic and clinical studies, on the one hand, and progress in high performance computers and computer science, on the other hand, offers clinicians and scientists huge possibilities to improve the prognosis of cancer patients using individualized treatments. This makes the realization of personalized medicine possible.

Necessary conditions for the improvement of cancer therapies are the multi-level collection of data and biomaterial in clinical-genomic studies and their interdisciplinary analysis by clinicians, molecular biologists, and other specialists from life sciences.

For this purpose it is necessary to combine research data and results from biomolecular studies, imaging processes, scientific literature, and patients’ clinical data. This information must be analyzable by the user and available to all operators. The access to biomaterial with specific characteristics and its data also plays an important role. The p-medicine-partners combine their forces to establish an IT-infrastructure that promotes the transition from current practice to personalized medicine.

The telematic support of care in the health care system is becoming increasingly important. Due to the demographic change, personal health care systems and intelligent assistance for seniors and the chronically ill is necessary.

“Personalized medicine” is the new motto in health research and care: a patient’s molecular biological and clinical data will be more strongly linked, processed, and utilized to be able to diagnose earlier and to treat patients more effectively and with fewer side effects using individualized therapies.

New and continuously growing knowledge from basic science leads to an immense increase of clinical, genetic, and molecular information on the patients and their diseases. This flood of information can only contribute to further knowledge for individualized medical care if networking is augmented by ICT (information and communication technology)

The European ICT-large scale research project “p-medicine” was started in February 2011 and co-initiated by the Fraunhofer IBMT. In cancer research and treatment it will help improve individual therapies for cancer patients.

Comprehensive data from clinical studies (initially on kidney and breast cancer as well as leukemia) will allow physicians to simulate malignant disease on a computer. This will significantly support doctors in planning treatments. At the same time computer applications ("Apps") will better inform patients. It will help them decide on treatments and better inform them on the use of their tumor material for research.

The project will pave the way for personalized medicine with an innovative ICT-infrastructure and software tools. This will be the basis for more efficient, linked clinical research and the transfer of results to clinical practice. As a key IT-partner and co-initiator of the project “p-medicine”, the Department of Telematics & Intelligent Health Care Systems of the Fraunhofer IBMT contributes its many years of expertise in biobank information systems and clinical data collection and integration.

In the task force “Access to Biobanks” the partners’ tumor banks are linked to Fraunhofer’s know-how under reserve of the donors’ personal rights and the autonomy of the participating biobanks.

Project partner

The task forces Telematics & Intelligent Health Care Systems (location St. Ingbert) and biodatabanks (location Potsdam-Golm) of the Fraunhofer IBMT are working together with 19 other European, Israeli, and Japanese partner organizations in the project “p-medicine”. The EU is supporting the project for a period of 4 years with 13.3 million € as part of the 7th Research Framework Program.

Funding period: 02/2011 - 01/2014


An innovative data management platform will combine patient related data, imaging data from radiology, as well as laboratory and molecular genetic patient data. It will be available in a data warehouse while adhering to data protection. Using further IT-tools these data will be accessible for clinical cancer research. The access to patients’ tumor material will significantly expand this database for scientists.

In the task force “Access to Biobanks” the partners’ tumor banks will be linked to Fraunhofer’s know-how under reserve of the donors’ personal rights and the autonomy of the participating biobanks. As a network concept the CRIP-toolbox of the IBMT-task force “Biodatabanks” will be integrated into the “p-medicine”-infrastructure. The Department of Telematics & Intelligent Health Care Systems will contribute its ontology based study management system ObTiMA that was developed with the University Clinic of the Saarland to implement multicenter studies to the ICT-infrastructure.

ObTiMA will be supplemented by a special biobank module that allows the management of samples and analyzed data of a study cohort. Clinical data and sample data can be simply merged. Thanks to the ontology annotation, all data in the ObTiMA can be analyzed also spanning different studies. Furthermore, the biomaterial data collected in the ObTiMA may be linked for material requests to other biobanks using the CRIP-toolbox. Also the task force "p-medicine"-portal is developing a label for "p-medicine"-infrastructure, that will give scientists and clinicians access to the ICT-resources.